The 10-day fair hosts 350 stalls of 325 entrepreneurs with 100% local products and 70% of the participants are women
Foreign products cannot be displayed or sold at the country’s largest event of 100% local products. The fair premises will be open for visitors daily from 10am to 8pm.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun inaugurated the fair with SME Foundation Chairperson Professor Masudur Rahman in the chair.
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumdar, Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Jashim Uddin were also present at the ceremony.
In recognition of their contribution, six entrepreneurs were presented with the “National SME Entrepreneur Award 2022” in five categories this year.
Mustafa Kamal of Safe Trading Corporation, Ishrat Jahan Chowdhury of Tulika, Mahfuzul Gani of Creation, Obaidul Haque Russell of Emus Footwear, Taslima Khatun of Tanin Sports and Dairy and Nazrul Islam of Raja Metal each received a crest, a certificate and a check of the award money at the opening ceremony.
Md Mafizur Rahman further said the SME Foundation has so far provided various types of training to more than 40,000 entrepreneurs and trainees and 60% of them are women.
“By 2013, the foundation identified 177 SME clusters across the country and worked for their development.”
In the morning, the fair was abuzz with buyers and sellers.
Esrat Jahan Chowdhury is the founder of Tulika which manufactures bags, home décor and handicrafts with versatile jute products and exports them abroad.
She told TBS, “We see a lot of sales at the fair. But the biggest thing is that domestic and foreign buyers come and order the products. Last year, I received many orders.”
“I hope to get a good response this year as well. Every year after participating in the fair, my sales increased in the following year’s fair,” she added.
Taslima Khatun, the proprietor of Tanin Sports and Dairy, sells sports goods like cricket bats, gloves, pads and stumps.
“The fair actually increases awareness about products, and one can compare their own with others’ products to plan for the future. All in all, participation in the fair is profitable,” she told TBS.
Maqsuda Khatun, the entrepreneur of Sabab Leather, participated in the SME Fair to expand her venture. She also said that leather products are getting good responses at the fair.
According to the SME Foundation data, in the last nine SME fairs, 1,886 entrepreneurs have sold products worth around Tk32.88 crore and received orders of around Tk53.50 crore.
According to the SME Foundation, the contribution of the SME sector to the country’s GDP is 25-27%. However, among the entire industrial sector, the total employment in SMEs is about 80%.
In 2013, there were 78 lakh SME entrepreneurs in the country, and now in 2022, the number has increased to over 1 crore.